2019 marks the 235th year of John Smedley, the oldest and most iconic still manufacturing knitwear factory in the entire world.
In celebration of this momentous birthday, the brand will curate a yearlong series of events and product launches, each dedicated to showcasing the brand’s passion for British craft in all its forms, uniting craftspeople from across the entire British Isles in a global celebration of quality, fibre and the strive for perfection and constant perseverance that unites artisans the world over.
Beginning at London Craft Week on May 1st, the brand will introduce their partnership with The Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust (QEST) – a charity which supports the training and education of British craftspeople. Throughout this partnership the two organisations will work together to bring the stories of 10 craftspeople -each a QEST scholar, to the masses via a series of exhibitions within St James’s Market Pavilion across 2019-20, and a continuous programme of workshops and retail activations where each month John Smedley’s retail stores within London and Japan will be transformed to tell the story of each craftsperson, articulating their personal journey and showcasing their products which will be available to purchase exclusively at John Smedley stores.
John Smedley, alongside Rémy Martin will also offer consumer workshops to engage the public with each artisan. From luthiers to watchmakers and stonemasons in between consumers will be able to engage with all forms of British craftsmanship.
The programme will launch at London Craft Week on Wednesday the 1st of May with the reveal of John Smedley’s 235 exhibition, and will continue with a talk hosted by Managing Director and 8th generation Smedley family member Ian Maclean on Friday May 10th detailing ‘Craft & Form’ featuring stonemason Zoe Wilson and ceramic artist Alice Walton whose attention to quality raw materials and construction mirrors that of John Smedley’s own to knitwear. Following this the programme moves on to showcase luthier Tom Sands whose talk and performance ‘Sound & Vision’ on Saturday 11th May will detail how his own attention to the minutest of details can affect the sound of the end result, this will be further demonstrated via a live guitar performance on one of Tom’s own instruments.
Following London Craft Week, the events continue with a detailed programme across the 2019-20 year, each event syndicated online to engage the global viewer.
Following the 235 launch event on the 1st May, the exhibition will be open to the public at St James's Market Pavilion for daily viewing.